Volume 90, Issue 1 (2023): Tiltai, pp. 16–42
The present paper discusses the role of gender equality policy in the military. The aim is to find out, paying due attention to unconscious bias, whether or not soldiers enrolled in mandatory initial military service in Lithuania support any stereotypes regarding women, and if so, then what are the stereotypes they adhere to, and what are the stereotypes that women in mandatory initial military service are confronted with. The paper analyses gender equality issues in the following two important contexts: the democratic value of gender equality in military service, and the need and readiness of the military to accommodate different genders. The latter context forms a stark contrast with the former two, especially given the traditional point of view that military service is meant to ensure effective security and defence, rather than the effective implementation of gender equality. The paper analyses how stereotypical attitudes towards women as a gender support the above-mentioned tradition. Based on the results of empirical research, stereotypes have proven to be still maintained by soldiers in the target group. The dominant stereotypical attitude is that active military service may be putting women at greater risk of harassment and sexual abuse. Female soldiers in the target group are confronted with stereotypical attitudes. They link the reasons underlying the overall support of stereotypical thinking to the age of the individuals concerned, their inherited stereotypical attitudes, and their education.